Study to focus on reasons of infertility among recent war veterans
The new study seeks to find out why veterans from the US most recent wars are more likely to suffer from issues related to infertility than their civilian counterparts.
Researchers on Tuesday announced their plans for a new study to find out why veterans from the US most recent wars are more likely to suffer from issues related to infertility than their civilian counterparts.
Officials from Legacy, a fertility clinic, will partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs for the study.
Researchers will test sperm collected from more than 1,000 veterans that participated in the onslaught of aggression in West Asia and North Africa dubbed by the United States as the "Global War on Terror" in a bid to look for common problems among the population of veterans.
For over two decades, the US waged wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, to name a few countries, and this not only take the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians throughout the years of war but also saw thousands of US soldiers suffering from many issues, psychological and physical, to serve the "greater goal" of solidifying Washington's standing in the international arena.
The goal of the study is to use the findings to expand the fertility services the Veterans Affairs Department offers over the coming years.
"As a VA physician, I have witnessed firsthand veterans struggling with family building," Veterans Health Administration's healthcare innovation chief Dr. Ryan Vega said. "This effort is important to further understanding a tackling a challenge so many of our nation's veterans face."
Previous studies have shown that the rate of fertility among soldiers that fought in Afghanistan and Iraq could be half that of civilians for unclear reasons.
Legacy officials said they plan on studying various variables, including burn pit exposure during service, traumatic brain injury side effects, and ongoing PTSD, to see how these issues might affect the conception of a child.
US troops stationed overseas have long held a practice of using burn pits to get rid of their toxic waste. The items that went into the burn pits included batteries, medical waste, plastics, ammunition, even amputated body parts, rubber and chemicals.
Nearly 30,000 troops and filled out a survey on exposure to burn pits between April to December 2014, and data from the survey highlighted the health conditions experienced by US troops.
The most commonly diagnosed health problems were insomnia and neurological problems. Other problems included allergies, high blood pressure, lung diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
One veteran, Julie Tomaska from the Minnesota Air National Guard, who was deployed during the invasion of Iraq on twice in 2005 and 2007, was living near one of these burn pits, which was in Iraq's Balad airbase. She and her colleagues knew this could not be good for them.
Although more than 200,000 servicemembers have registered at the burn pits registry to help "better understand the potential health effects of burn pits and other exposures", the majority of the claims have so far been rejected.
The study will focus on men only, but organizers said they hoped the findings will improve fertility services given by VA.
The researchers will collect and test sperm samples. They will then be cryogenically stored to be reanalyzed six months later in order to identify any additional issues.
The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between VA and Legacy stipulates that the company covers the cost of cryopreservation for all study participants through December 2023, and VA will be responsible for covering the cost of any continued preservation after that date.
The findings will be released in a report in early 2024.
the fact that the study must be done shows that the US wars on "terror" did not have any beneficiaries except the officials in Washington and the conglomerates they used to exploit and loot the natural resources of the countries that were the victims of their aggression.